Was the '90s the Best Era for Disney Movies? An In-Depth Investigation

In honor of the #BestPartOfThe90sWas trending topic on Twitter, we're breaking down the animated films of that decade

By Jenna Mullins May 20, 2016 7:40 PMTags
Aladdin, Beauty and the BeastDisney

While we scrolled through the #BestPartOfThe90sWas hashtag on Twitter, we kept coming across the same tweet: "Disney movies." 

It's no surprise that most ‘90s kids firmly believe that their era of animated films was the pinnacle of Disney movies. And with Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and Aladdin being released in that decade, it's hard to argue with the statement.

Since it's hard to measure how different generations feel about a certain era of Disney movies, we thought we would take a more scientific approach to figuring out if that decade was truly the best. We'll look at the number of Academy Awards the movies won, their Rotten Tomatoes score and the memorable songs of that film. Of course, this will not change how any Disney fan feels about their favorite movies, so take this research with a big ol' grain of salt.

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Below is the hard evidence for the argument that the most popular animated feature films released by The Walt Disney Studios from 1990 to 1999 were the best of all time:

1. The Rescuers Down Under

Release Date: November 16, 1990
Academy Awards: 0
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%
Memorable Song(s): "Rescue Aid Society Theme"

2. Beauty and the Beast

Release Date: November 22, 1991
Academy Awards: 2
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
Memorable Song(s): "Be Our Guest," "Beauty and the Beast"

3. Aladdin

Release Date: November 25, 1992
Academy Awards: 2
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
Memorable Song(s): "Friend Like Me," "A Whole New World"

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4. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Release Date: October 29, 1993
Academy Awards: 0 (but nominated for Best Visual Effects)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Memorable Song(s): "What's This?"

5. The Lion King

Release Date: June 24, 1994
Academy Awards: 2
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Memorable Song(s): "Circle of Life," "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"

6. Pocahontas

Release Date: June 23, 1995
Academy Awards: 2
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 56%
Memorable Song(s): "Just Around the Riverbend," "Colors of the Wind"

7. Toy Story

Release Date: November 22, 1995
Academy Awards: 1 (Special Achievement)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Memorable Song(s): "You've Got a Friend in Me"

8. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Release Date: June 21, 1996
Academy Awards: 74%
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 0 (nominated for Best Music)
Memorable Song(s): "Out There," Topsy Turvy"

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9. Hercules

Release Date: June 27, 1997
Academy Awards: 0 (nominated for Best Original Song)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%
Memorable Song(s): "Go the Distance," "I Won't Say I'm in Love"

10. Mulan

Release Date: June 19, 1998
Academy Awards: 0 (nominated for Best Original Score)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%
Memorable Song(s): "I'll Make a Man Out of You," "Reflection"

11. A Bug's Life

Release Date: November 25, 1998
Academy Awards: 0 (nominated for Best Original Score)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Memorable Song(s): "The Time of Your Life"

12. Tarzan

Release Date: June 18, 1999
Academy Awards: 1
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Memorable Song(s): "You'll Be in My Heart," "Son of Man"

13. Toy Story 2

Release Date: November 24, 1999
Academy Awards: 0 (nominated for Best Original Song)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Memorable Song(s): "When She Loved Me"

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That is a pretty stacked deck. When it comes to the classic animated movies, before Disney ruled the CG game, we would say that the ‘90s has no equal. The Lion King? Aladdin? Mulan? C'mon. It just doesn't get better than that. And when you throw in Toy Story, well…we're going to have call this one for the ‘90s kids.

Congrats, ‘90s generation! Not only did you grow up with some truly iconic TV sitcoms, but you had the pleasure of being raised by one of the best Disney film eras, if not the best ever.

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